cover image Sondheim: The Man Who Changed Musical Theater

Sondheim: The Man Who Changed Musical Theater

Susan Goldman Rubin. Roaring Brook/Porter, $21.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-59643-884-2

Musical-theater lovers will devour this detailed exploration of Stephen Sondheim’s productions, beginning with his earliest attempt: a musical he wrote at the age of 15 about campus life at his boarding school in Bucks County, Pa. Rubin (Music Was IT) writes in her introduction that her goal is to offer readers “a glimpse of Stephen Sondheim’s process”; she also presents a brief look at his childhood and adolescence. Based on personal interviews with Sondheim and many of his collaborators, as well as his memoirs, the book is filled with Sondheim’s voice, reflecting on the joys and challenges of composing, writing lyrics, and collaborating with the likes of Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, and Hal Prince. Readers hoping for a biography that digs into the multifaceted composer/lyricist’s psyche and creative spirit may be disappointed, but those interested in behind-the-scenes stories of his landmark productions will appreciate the comprehensive accounts, historical photography from Sondheim’s shows (as well as of Sondheim and other musical-theater luminaries), and back-matter listings of all his works. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)